Sunday, 29 March 2015

Dotted Chestnut

Following two Dotted Chestnuts in October last year, I have now taken three to my garden Robinson trap during March, more usual than the Autumn records.. It was interesting to read about the species possible link to the ant Lasius Fuliginosus which is also present in my garden. The adult has been found to overwinter in the ants nest. I always find the abdomen markings of the moth intriguing. I will have a look for the hairy larva later on.
Better night last night with Pale Pinion, Early Thorn, and Early Grey new for year.

It's not that I never see a Mompha through the winter........

..... it's just that they are always subbistrigella!

This one was picked up at Hurcott when I was checking the extensive stands of currant for feeding signs of Lampronia capitella (no I didn't find any).

Patrick Clement

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Hurcott yesterday

I am targeting Hurcott Wood & Pool near Kidderminster this year as there are few records for the site and it is quite close to home. While I will be happy to add any species to the site list (however common) I hope the mature Scots pine and the alder/willow carr may produce some decent moths later on.
Vehicular access for light trapping will be dependant on dry weather for 2WD and is restricted to two vehicles.

Coleophora laricella

An hour or so searching yesterday produced some very small Coleophora laricella larvae feeding on the emerging larch needles (easily seen where present despite their small size). The only difficulty was finding branches low enough to examine.

Metzneria lappella
I also found several Metzneria lappella larvae in the seed heads of burdock which pleased me greatly as I have often looked for these at home and on nearby brownfield sites without success. The only result being my clothes covered with seed heads and my finger tips full of sharp little spines! Mapmate shows few Worcestershire records for this species, all in the south of the county.
The photograph shows a larva removed from, but adjacent to, the hibernaculum.

Patrick Clement

Miners in Gorse and Broom

I spent a day in the field yesterday looking for various micro species that we have not recorded recently. As is usually the case, I went out with a couple of targets in mind and came back with records for two completely different species. As it happens, both of these have not been recorded since the mid 1990's.

4.068 BF46 Trifurcula immundella is a stem miner in Broom. It mines from the tip of the twig downwards, sometimes turning round to head back up the twig. This species feeds over the winter and larvae have only recently left the mines.

There is a potential confusion species - 256 Leucoptera spartifoliella. It usually mines towards the tip of the twig and pupates in a conspicuous white spinning attached close to the mine.
These mines were found at the Beacon Road car park on the Malvern Hills.

15.060 BF339 Phyllonorycter ulicicolella mines stems and needles of Gorse. Mines in the stems are difficult to spot and painful to inspect! When they are in a needle it is somewhat easier to see them.
I found this one on the Old Hills.

Both of these species are almost certainly under recorded and are probably more widespread than the records suggest.

Oliver Wadsworth.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Mompha jurassicella

M. bradleyi (top) and M. jurassicella (below)

Many thanks to Patrick for dissecting and confirming Mompha jurassicella which I found flying around my small student garden in Worcester last Friday. Pictured here with Mompha bradleyi, an individual of which was also caught in the garden back in November.

In search of the Emperor

Can someone post when they hear of Emperor moths on the wing?  Have invested in the new Emperor moth pheromone and keen to give it a go on Hartlebury Common.  If anyone wants to join me they are welcome to come along.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Blackhouse Wood images

A couple of images from my traps at Blackhouse Wood last Friday, 20th March.

Shoulder-stripe was NFY and Carpatolechia decorella was my first since 2007.

Patrick Clement
Carpatolechia decorella


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Blackhouse Wood 20th March

Billy Dykes and myself met Ann Hadfield and Tony Simpson at the gates of the reserve and Tony soon located a couple of Greater Stitchwort with spun shoots, hopefully with Caryocolum tricolorella larvae inside.

Greater Stitchwort, Blackhouse Wood 20th March

Our contribution to the survey were two MV's and an actinic on the reserve ridge and were rewarded with 23 species by 23:00. Micros include the Lime specialist Semioscopis avellanella and a male Carpatolechia decorella. Macros included a red-form Clouded Drab, red-form Twin-spotted Quaker and a very fresh Engrailed. A round of other traps provided several nice spring species NFY! All in all an excellent selection for this as yet little known reserve.
Steve Whitehouse

Twin-spotted Quaker, Blackhouse Wood 20th March

Clouded Drab, Blackhouse Wood 20th March

Engrailed, Blackhouse Wood 20th March

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Orange Underwings

As the sun was mostly out at lunchtime, went along the main ride in from the car park at Trench Wood to the first major crossroads opposite a couple of conifers at 13:30. Had 6 sightings of presumed Orange Underwings in an hour, keeping fairly high towards the tops of Birch and Oak. Two did come lower when followed with binoculars and one actually came up, probably off the ground just yards from my walking feet. They looked fairy large, well marked and richly coloured and seeing the date is only just past mid-March I was happy they were Orange - although the sister species can be seen at the exactly the same place, usually from late March to mid-April.  A lot of thinning and clearing has been going on over two winters and the woodland at that point is now quite open to the east. This may give chance for the ground flora to diverse which may increase the species regime. Wonder if either Grizzled or Dingy Skippers could get back in? A group of 5 very vocal Marsh Tits was a welcome diversion from checking the treetops, which as yet have no leaves on whatsoever. This appears to illustrate the stuttered sluggish spring so far. Surprisingly no butterflies were seen.
Steve Whitehouse

Trench Wood east ride, 18th March

Trench Wood main ride, 18th March

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Elusive Elachistas

I have been looking for what used to be called Biselachista cinereopunctella, now plain Elachista cinereopunctella, for several years without success.
Tony has recorded it at Trench Wood and Windmill Hill amongst other places in the county but not since 2001. Its main food plant is Glaucous Sedge Carex flacca.
Having failed again in my searches this year Tony kindly put me out of my misery by letting me have these larvae to photograph, which he found at Queens Wood VC36 last week. They have just left the mines and have fixed themselves to the base of the leaves for pupation.

It might now be too late for mining larvae this year but the pupae should be present, close to the vacated mines - we still have no new records for VC37, so if you find any do let us know!
Oliver Wadsworth

Acleris cristana

Acleris cristana
A trap in a rather wet garden last night did produce an Acleris cristana - I have recorded this species here every third year, 2006, 2009, 2012 and now 2015, always in spring.

Patrick Clement

Monday, 16 March 2015

5 Week Overview

I thought I'd update you on a few Stats that blogger lets you see. We've been running for about 5 weeks now, since I posted the first test message on February 8th. Comparing it with the other 2 moth blogs I have an interest in, the site is just as busy (quiet?) as the others and will presumably build up momentum now as the season kicks in. I made visible the list of contributors last week, after it finally hit my threshold level, it is still fairly small, but hopefully will now grow steadily as word gets out. You can now view them all on the right hand side. We had 980 views of the website in February. Yesterday, as an example, we had 33 views and our audience is split almost 50:50 between the UK and the USA and a small readership in Ireland. I know the UTB blog has a decent following in the USA also and hits as far away as Fiji and South Korea. What are your impressions so far, now most of you are used to it? Peter Hall

Sunday, 15 March 2015


Choreutis pariana

Caloptilia semifascia

Lyonetia clerkella

I've had a particularly productive time sweeping Worcester Uni's evergreen trees for overwintering moths in recent days, with these three smart micros being the highlights. The campus moth trap is also starting to produce the goods, with 12 moths of 7 species recorded on Wednesday night - new for year being Common Quaker, Early Thorn, Clouded Drab and Amblyptilia acanthadactyla.

More on Phyllonorycter trifasciella

I was interested to see Patrick's post of P.trifasciella mines on Lonicera last week. At around the same time I found that a mine of this species that I collected last autumn in the Wyre had 'hatched'.
Not a particularly flashy example - some are much more dramatically marked - but nice to see none the less.
Oliver Wadsworth.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Trench Wood 12th March

Took 2 MV's to Trench Wood last Thursday night for 3 hours and was awash with 73 Yellow Horned; also 41 Oak Beauty, 12 Small Brindled Beauty, 2 Shoulder Stripe, 2 Grey Shoulder-knot, Satellite, Chestnut, 9 Small Quaker, 2 Clouded Drab, Hebrew C, Red Chestnut, 20 Common Quaker and an Agonopterix heracliana. A rain shower at 21:20 was short-lived and I should have stuck it longer! Steve Whitehouse

Grey Shoulder-knot

Red Chestnut

Friday, 13 March 2015

Bringsty last night

Just back from the sub-continent, I was disappointed to see the nights are forecast to be cool and last night wet. At the last minute I decided to run the white Robinson down the garden thinking I'd switch it off just before the rain came. Jet lag prevented that and I'm glad I ran it all night too. I'm not usually one for counting, but the tally from last night was: Yellow Horned 14, Small Quaker 6, Common Quaker 73, Oak Beauty 13, Hebrew Character 10, Early Grey 2, Dotted Border 1, Clouded Drab 3, Brindled Pug 1, Chestnut 2, Satellite 1, Red Chestnut 2, Shoulder Stripe 1 and Tortricodes alternella representing the micros on 1. At the house window probably Agonopterix heracliana, although it looks larger than usual so I will check the cilia later. Peter Hall
Yellow Horned

Early Grey

Egg boxes were busy

Phyllonorycter trifasciella mines

At this time of year I think I'm safe with the id on these Honeysuckle mines found yesterday at Hurcott (north Worcs). I shall attempt to rear, though I fear I may have picked them a little early.
Some websites state the mines are between main rib and leaf edge but others show mines extending across both sides of the leaf.
I once found an adult dead on my lounge windowsill (Honeysuckle just outside) but have never found the mines in my garden or recorded a live moth here.
Patrick Clement

Thursday, 12 March 2015

11th March, Halesowen

An MV in the garden all night produced my first half-decent catch of the year, though without any exciting species.

Amblyptilia acanthadactyla 2
Common Plume 2
March Moth 3
Red-green Carpet 1
Dotted Border 2
Small Quaker 1
Common Quaker 14
Hebrew Character 1
The Chestnut 1

Patrick Clement
Common Quaker

Emmelina monodactyla

Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

11th March

Calybites phasianipennella here last night becomes the earliest record on VC37 MM following singles last year on 30th and 31st March. Must be a colony here in gardens. Clear off-white dorsal streak and correct coloured leg-band arrangement clinched it. But an easy one to overlook! 39 moths  comprised of NFY Clouded Drab, Small Quaker, 2 Oak Nycteolines plus 26 Common Quaker, 3 Hebrew C, 2 Beautiful Plumes, Acleris notana/ferrugana and Light Brown Apple. Tonight also looks good before light rain at midnight. Steve Whitehouse (Warndon)
Clouded Drab

Oak Nycteoline

Small Quaker

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Thursday 5th March

A 15watt battery actinic at Trench Wood for 5 hours produced 2 Shoulder-stripe whilst the garden MV trap faired better with Oak Beauty and an Acleris cristana, which was the 12th for site and interesting all between mid-February and late April. Steve Whitehouse

Oak Beauty


Acleris cristana

Friday, 6 March 2015

Nocturnal Romance

A Bromsgrove moth enthusiast found a geometrid larva on foodplant in his garden on 6th May 2014, however he was not quite sure of its identity.  He fed it through to pupation on around the 4th June and then waited to see what emerged. On February the 25th February a vestigial-winged female Dotted Border came out - just reward for his fine work. He informed me that he wanted to let it go in Sanders Park and invited me to attend. At 8.10 pm on the 27th we located a small copse in the park and placed the female on the calm/smooth side of a tree about a metre above the ground. We stood around in the dark, chatting for a few minutes not really expecting much to happen when a light brown 'geo' flew in and buzzed the tree for a few seconds. The sudden torchlight appeared to spook it and it flew off about 10 metres and vanished. We extinguished the light and waited another 10 minutes and were about to leave when I noticed a fine male Dotted Border already in cop with the female. He had obviously sneaked in and on when were distracted by conversations about Scottish moths. This was a fantastic end to the Dotted Border adventure.
Steve Whitehouse

Dotted Border larva
Dotted Border female

Dotted Border pair in cop